Book Review: Ordained Irreverence by McMillian Moody (Three Stars)


Book Review: Ordained Irreverence (Elmo Jenkins #1) by McMillian Moody

(Three Stars)

“I felt like the refuse of the rich and famous. If this is what it was going to be like working full-time in a church, I didn’t want anything to do with it.”

An engaging funny, and at the same time sad opening to a series about a young man becoming a Baptist minister. (The denomination is only mentioned once or twice, but it’s obvious from internal evidence.) Moody captures many internal dynamics which are true of all bureaucratic organizations, especially those with undue power an influence vested in those who have their own agenda. Rings so true.

“… be careful around the Queen Bee. ‘Greater men than you have been beheaded by her whims,’ I’d been told.”  “… Mrs. Jorgensen, who had watched Oprah faithfully for years.”

Well written. Rises above most Christian fiction is showing reality, warts and all.

“Of even greater importance at First Church, the Sunday morning worship service always, and I do mean always ended by 11:30.”

This fictional church, like many today, is not just suffering from ossifying practices and doctrine, but seems to have totally forgotten why they are a church. Their ministry and practices are saturated with worldly principles and goals. That Elmo seems the only one aware of how bad things are is sad.

“Church growth axioms. They believed: 1. A growing church is a healthy church. 2. The best growth comes through the Sunday school. 3. New groups or classes grow much faster than existing ones.” “It always amazed me how the church growth gurus can somehow use mathematical formulas to accomplish spiritual goals. Somewhere Peter Drucker was smiling.” “We want to be proactive and help get the First Church ship back on course, to remain effective in our town and in our world.” “I was reeling from metaphor overload.”

Repeatedly the only person who seems even interested in God’s will is the protagonist. Hopeful for the series, but a downer for the current state of First Church.

“Only you know what’s best for you and your future.” Said by a pastor!

Too good to be true ending, but totally expected. Every bit of it.

“I began to better understand who God was, and that the world didn’t revolve around me, and that God has a purpose for my life.” “How to know God’s will in a decision is one of the great spiritual questions of all time.”

(Tried another book in the series, but gave up.)